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Short break provision consultation

What is a short break?

A short break is where children and young people with disabilities and additional needs participate in activities that they enjoy in their leisure time (outside school hours). For example playing sport, spending time with friends, joining a club or even spending a few days away from home.

The purpose of short breaks is to provide an opportunity for disabled children and young people to access activities that are fun and creative, and are offered to them in a caring, stimulating, and supportive environment.

What else short breaks do
Short breaks:


  • Allow disabled children, young people, and those with additional needs to experience new relationships, environments, and positive activities
  • Provide a necessary and valuable opportunity for primary carers (usually but not always, mum or dad) to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and to recharge their batteries
  • May include activities for:
    • day
    • evening
    • overnight
    • weekend
  • Could take place:
    • at home
    • at an approved carer’s home
    • in a community or residential setting
  • May mean taking part in an activity with other disabled young people, or being supported to take part in local activities open to everyone
  • Can also mean supporting parents in their caring role so that the whole family can enjoy activities together

The provision promotes an ethos of co-production, by listening to the voice of the child so that the disabled children and young people and those with additional needs will be provided opportunities to help shape the service and its delivery. When children are meaningfully involved in decision making this leads to improved service outcomes, and improves the wellbeing of those involved in the process.

The aim of short breaks for provision is to ensure that disabled children and young people and those with additional needs have access to social experiences and interactions alongside their disabled peers within the local community. Families are also provided with a break from their caring responsibilities, and given an opportunity to recharge their batteries and/or carry out activities with other family members.

We use outcome-based commissioning throughout the tendering process for the short breaks service. The key features of outcome-based commissioning are linked to nurturing wellbeing of individuals who access the short breaks service (activities and services delivered in leisure time).

The outcomes for the short break service are based on taking a holistic approach to promoting health and wellbeing of disabled children and young people and those with additional needs. An approach which takes account of the growth, development, and maturity of everyone that accesses the service in a social and community context. The outcomes are achieved through individuals accessing group activities.

Through short break opportunities disabled children and young people and those with additional needs will have the opportunity to access a range of social experiences to build self-confidence and to enjoy time outside of their family/home environment. The range of provisions on offer will provide opportunities for them to develop life skills, confidence, and self-esteem, and will be encouraged to build and develop positive relationships with peers and access services within community settings. This will be carried out through a delivery of high quality provision which is age appropriate, where disabled children and young people are supported with all specified care needs whilst accessing the service. This provision will offer specialist care when required. Staff will be sufficiently trained with expertise and experience in working with disabled children and young people with SEND, some of whom may have multiple complex needs.